These Photos Prove That the Middle East Is the Place to Go for Stargazing
Those of us who live in cities can easily forget that we see only a small percentage of the stars in the night's sky. These extraordinary images taken by photographer Daniele Cagnazzo remind us of what can be seen in the absence of light pollution, a term used by the International Dark Sky Association to describe the excessive use of artificial light.
“The Middle East is a magical place,” Cagnazzo said. “Empty and endless spaces surrounded by the silence of the night.” His photos transport us to those remote places and give us, in his words, “an occasion to admire the beauty of nature with a different dress.”
The International Dark Sky Association is dedicated to preserving this beauty for present and future generations. They point out that, “Until recently, for all of human history, our ancestors experienced a sky brimming with stars — a night sky that inspired science, religion, philosophy, art, and literature.”
Cagnazzo’s photos let us share his experiences of gazing at the star-filled night sky in the Middle East. They remind us to value the natural beauty of the night just as we admire nature’s other gifts. His work might even inspire us to see these wonders for ourselves.
“If you are an adventurer or an off-road travel lover, this part of the world is the perfect place to be,” he said.
Wadi Al Arbeieen, Oman
The Milky Way lights the sky, mountains, and water of the wadi, creating a dramatic nighttime photo. “Oman is a wonderful land, full of green and water,” Cagnazzo said.
Jabal Jais, United Arab Emirates
This mountain on the border between Oman and the UAE provided the perfect background for the colorful tents. “The moonlight and melodic sound of the mandolin made the atmosphere unique,” said Cagnazzo.
This famous archaeological site with its carved pink sandstone cliffs dates to around 300 BC. “Walking through thousands of years, through big rocks with lights placed on the path, looked like a dream.”
Al Qua Desert, United Arab Emirates
Cagnazzo photographed this abandoned mosque on an August night in temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, with the Milky Way glowing in the sky overhead.
Masafi, United Arab Emirates
The glow from the campfire along with the starry sky created lights and shadows beautifully detailing the mountain’s profile and the rocky ground.
Dubai Desert, United Arab Emirates
This dramatic photo of wind-blown sand and the Milky Way was taken in spring. During April and May, Cagnazzo tells us, “The sky is so clear that is seems the stars are very close to you.”